Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review – Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

The Thursday Giveaway Roundup has been replaced by a review, it will return next week.

Also, if you're a fan of Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, this may not be the review for you.

To start, Darkfever is about MacKayla Lane traveling to Ireland following the murder of her sister, discovering she is a sidhe-seer (a Null to be specific) and then realizing that she needs to find the elusive Fae text, the Sinsar Dubh, of which Jericho Barrons is very interested in. These all make for an interesting plot, and KMM does an excellent job of using book one to introduce characters, rules and realities that will be the status quo for the reader. However, by the time I finished the book, I had come to the following conclusions:
  1. Mac is a heroine undeserving of her hero (Barrons)
  2. This book had been classified in the wrong section
Its been a while since I've come into a series after its complete.  Typically, I've caught the buzz a lot sooner and give the first book a shot and have either kept up with the series or let it fall to the wayside.  For some reason this book never got my full attention.  After completing book one I'm falling more on the side of letting this series go rather than continuing it, mostly for the reasons above.  Despite popular opinion, I was not racing out to get book two in this series.  Mostly because of how I think of Mac as a character and how I feel about the genre this book is marketed in.  I didn't find Mac to be a believable female character, at least not one for a romance novel, her very teeny bopperish introduction did not get me off to a great start.  Even though she's an adult with a job at a bar, she didn't give off what I thought would be the persona of a bartender.  She was more hostess at a swanky restaurant than bartender at a dive bar.  

I will totally own up to the fact that how the reader feels about the characters is subjective. I prefer my heroine to be smart and I'm not picky about what kind of smarts she has; either by street or by book, as long as she has them and the first inkling of this I see in Mac is promptly squashed by a local so I was left with nothing. For this reason, I don't think Mac would bring anything to the relationship (if there is going to be one) with Barrons.

Because this book is listed as romance I have certain expectations that I think it fell short of meeting. And that colored how I viewed the rest of the book. When there was no chemistry between the hero and heroine I feel like I've been let down by the genre. I've come to expect that female character + male character + adventure = chemistry fueled by danger. This was not the case with Darkfever. It's apparent that Barrons barely tolerates Mac and only because of her usefulness to him. Furthermore, it's obvious that Mac has no feelings (other than passing musings about his looks) for Barrons. Which causes me to wonder, why is this series listed as romance?

I think had this book been introduced to me as Science Fiction/Fantasy or Urban Fantasy, I would have been able to accept the lack of a budding relationship between Mac and Barrons instead of expecting a spark after every long look or misplaced warning. I'm not sure if the publisher or the author establishes where the title goes, but for the Fever series (based solely upon my reading of book one), this should be in another section, instead of creating expectations that the story isn't going to live up to.

So on this series my stand is this:  I'll check out book two, but I'm lowering my expectations, if only to see if the developing story and hopefully the spark that was missing in book one can somehow be kindled.

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